Enter the unit and a narrow, dark corridor leads to an open space in a refurbished warehouse, revealing an artfully decorated facility with large screens and cubicles where teams of people are busily analyzing data. It looks a bit like Google meets life science, with a bit of Hollywood added in for effect, and it is nothing less than the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing. “We wanted to build a facility we can point to and show the art of the possible,” says Patrick Hyett, who heads GSK’s IIM digitisation project.
The building that houses the IIM Digitisation Lab project was intentionally designed by Hyett and his team to create the impression that this place is different. He says, “This is meant to resemble more a start-up firm than a branch of a global healthcare company. What we do here is aimed at rapidly seeking, incubating, and driving innovation in many areas of pharmaceutical manufacturing: we want to change the way people look at making pharmaceutical products and how they go about product development and new product introduction, as well as how they operate production facilities. We wanted to start from an empty space and take a new approach rather than take an existing space and add tools over the top of it, so that we could force people to take a new look at things.”